Shitty Movie Sundays: Sink Hole

Sink Hole movie posterWhat a piece of garbage. Take everything one knows about a flick from The Asylum or one of SyFy’s more meager efforts, and then scale those expectations downwards. This is a movie that exists, and little more. It has actors and actresses — vets gasping for one last breath of air before their careers go under, and young hopefuls, their dreams of stardom shattered by the cold, hard reality of a movie destined for the bargain DVD bin at gas stations and bodegas.

Sink Hole, from 2013, comes to us via writer Keith Shaw and director Scott Wheeler. Normally a visual effects tech, Wheeler, as of this writing, has eleven directing credits to his name, and his highest rated on IMDb is Attack of the Killer Donuts, at a hefty 3.8 out of 10. I probably should have skipped Sink Hole and gone directly for that flick, instead. Alas, I watched Sink Hole.

After a hot air balloon ride gone bad, EMT Joan (Gina Holden) is depressed. Her career is in shambles, her marriage to local high school principal, Gary (Jeremy London), is disintegrating, and her daughter, Paige (Brooke Mackenzie), is downright frightened for the future of her family. But that’s okay. That kind of strife is just rote character development in Sink Hole — dismissed as a necessary evil. Wheeler and company could have plugged any random drama into these characters’ backstories, and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the main plot.

Evil capitalist Lawson (Eric Scott Woods), owner of oil company SynCo (how clever), has increased his company’s production by fracking, legally and illegally, all over a generic area of Southern California. Part of his deal is bribing the local sheriff (Eric Roberts) into looking the other way. Lawson is getting super rich, but all this fracking has destabilized the area’s geology. Soon after the opening character development has been run through, including a subplot where Paige blames Lawson’s son, Jason (Paris Dylan), for the sins of the father, sinkholes open all over the area. Some of these are massive enough to swallow the entire downtown of fictional Sommerville, in a fit of cheap CGI.

The movie, then, is set up as a massive rescue operation, akin to the third acts of disaster flicks from Hollywood’s past, such as Earthquake or Meteor. Nope. There wasn’t a budget for that. Instead, this flick focuses on a single rescue.

Before the sinkholes opened, Gary was driving the high school’s track team, including Paige and Jason, to a meet in Sommerville, and the bus plunged into one of the sinkholes. It’s perched on a ledge before a yawning abyss, and a substantial chunk of the movie is spent aboard the bus while teenagers yell at each other. Meanwhile, Joan frets, then hems and haws, then gathers herself together, overcomes the balloon tragedy, and sets off to rescue her daughter and husband in this flick’s redemption arc.

There isn’t much to recommend about Sink Hole, even to shitty movie veterans. Most of the mirth we feed on is missing, as is the kind of reckless abandon that makes many bad movies entertaining. Sink Hole is barely tolerable, and that’s only because the scenes aboard the doomed school bus have some moments. Besides Paige and Jason, there’s a meathead character named Abe (Marc Siegler) that was good for some laughs, and an over-the-top bitchy Barbie named Lana (Kelle Cantwell). They played foil to Paige and Jason, and their characters were so absurd that they gave the movie a needed lift. If only the movie had focused on those two, it could have been hilarious. But, that’s not how things went.

Sink Hole is bad, bad, bad. There are so many other shitty disaster flicks, with greater ambition, to choose from. Stay away from Sink Hole and find some other trash to watch. This dirty dog of a film falls way down into the nether reaches of the Watchability Index, landing with a thud at #490, displacing Deadman Apocalypse. The flicks down here are the moviegoing equivalent of self-flagellation, although what sin we’re atoning for, I don’t know.

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